Monday, July 11, 2016

New Job, and New Career

After a long application process, I've got a new job! I will work at the Scientific Computing and Data Analysis Section at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, where I will support, train and help researchers in high-performance computing and programming.

OIST entrance tunnel.

Over the past ten years or so I've spent a lot of my time using clusters and supercomputers, writing code, and supporting team members with less computing experience than myself. I've also tutored graduate students and post-docs in the use of specific software and neuroscience modelling. And I've come to realize that the computing aspects and teaching are much more interesting to me than the research itself.

The Scientific Computing section at OIST is very well equipped, with two clusters — Sango is on the top-500 supercomputer list — and many research units at OIST make use of computational methods in one way or another. Computing has become a general tool, just like mathematics and statistics, for many research fields, but most researchers don't really have formal training in the field.

Here I can support hundreds of researchers and be far more effective promoting science than when I spent my time on my own projects. Also, this promises to be much more varied and challenging, with different research fields and a wide range of issues, from teaching beginner-level programming to optimizing cutting-edge software.

We'll probably live in Naha and I will commute by car from there. Ritsuko doesn't drive so it's not really feasible for us to live close to OIST, and we'd need a car in any case.

We will leave Osaka and move to Okinawa. But we have family here in Osaka and Ritsuko has things to take care of here, so she will return regularly. We'll probably also celebrate new year and other holidays here. It's surprisingly cheap and quick to fly between Osaka and Okinawa — cheaper than the train between Osaka and Tokyo — so it's very doable.

I'll start in September. Right now we're very busy with paperwork, trying to find a place to live, and figuring out the details of the move. I need to work through a pile of things left on my to-do list since my last project, and of course I need to prepare for the new job itself. Busy, busy...

Sunset near OIST.


  1. Congratulation for your new job; I am looking forward reading your blog entries about Okinawa

  2. Thanks! I will of course post about Okinawa here. Despite the name of the blog :-)

  3. Super congratulations on the new job. One think you didn't mention but that is hopefully also true is that this career move will provide more long term employment stability.
    Here is the UK the country is still on a course towards Brexit induced self destruction. My job is still secure for the next two years, but there are already signs that UK research teams have become a 'less preferred' option for EU Horizon2020 grant application consortia.

    Best of luck with the house hunting in Okinawa!

  4. Hi Ansgar,

    Yes, the (relative) stability is definitely a bonus! For the first time in my adult life I'm able to actually think ahead more than a couple of years. Should make the job even more interesting too, since what I do won't just be thrown away or left to rot once some project has finished.

    I don't envy you, or any of the other people I know that work in Britain. I would certainly not apply for a job there right now. You still plan to stay if you can, or are you looking elsewhere?


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